The Khilji Dynasty: Ala-ud-Din Khilji

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit)

Ala-ud-Din Khilji was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-Din Khilji. It was Jalal-ud-Din Khilji, who brought up him, because Ala-ud-Din was fatherless.

When Jalal-ud-Din Khilji became the King, he appointed Ala-ud-Din as the governor of Kara. Later, he became the Governor of Avadh too, in addition to that of Kara. But it was not enough for him. He was an ambitious man. So, he killed his uncle and father-in-law.

Even the murder of Jalal-ud-Din was not enough to put Ala-ud-Din on the throne of Delhi. Malika Jahan, the wife of Jalal-ud-Din, heard that his husband was killed; he put her younger son Qadir Khan Rukum-ud-Din on the throne. She also called for her elder son Arkali Khan, who was in Multan.

Ala-ud-Din Khilji did not waste his time. He marched towards Delhi from Kara. While going to Delhi, he distributed small gold and silver coins among the people in order to get confidence of the people. Large gifts were given to all and sundry to make them forget that Ala-ud-Din killed his own father-in-law and the King.

Qadir Khan Rukum-ud-Din was not able to resist, so he ran away to Multan. Ala-ud-Din entered in Delhi and on October 3, 1296, he proclaimed himself the King of Delhi.

Then, he sent a large army to capture Rukum-ud-Din etc. In Multan, Ala-ud-Din’s men blinded Rukum-ud-Din and Arkali Khan. Malika Jahan, widow of Jalal-ud-Din and mother-in-law of Ala-ud-Din was imprisoned.

Mongol Invasions

The Mongols invaded India for many times. During the rule of Ala-ud-Din, Mongols attacked India more than a dozen times. The Mongol raids formed a source of constant anxiety and alarm to the Delhi Government for a long time.

The first Mongol invasion during the rule of Ala-ud-Din took place under the command of Amir Daud. The Mongols succeeded to enter Sindh and Punjab. An army under Ulugh Khan defeated the Mongols and they ran away.

Next time, the Mongols attacked under the command of Saldi. This time, they reached near Delhi and captured the fort Siri. Zafar Khan, a famous army officer of Ala-ud-Din, recaptured the fort. About 2,000 Mongols were captured and brought before the King.

But the famous Mongol invasion took place in 1299, when under the command of Qutlugh Khwaja, 2,00,000 Mongols attacked on India. This time they did not want just to rob the country. Now, they wanted to establish their own kingdom.

The Mongols did not plunder the people on the way to Delhi. They did not want to waste their energy doing this. This was a wise step. They succeeded to reach near Delhi.

The situation became very grave. The people of nearby areas entered into Delhi. There was no free space even in mosques.

Ala-ud-Din consulted his ministers and chiefs. Many of them said that it was impossible to say as to which side victory is likely to incline. They said that their own army had spent their lives in warfare with the Hindus only, and had not joined in battle with the Mongols. They suggested for a compromise.

Ala-ud-Din was not ready for it. He rejected their advice and said, “If I were to follow your advice how could I show my face, how could I go into my harem? No, come what may tomorrow, I must march into the battlefield”.

He ordered his army to attack under the command of Zafar Khan and Ulugh Khan. His army men attacked and fought very bravely.

It was very bad experience for the Mongols. They suffered a lot. Zafar Khan created so great terror in the minds of the Mongols that whenever their horsed refused to drink water, the Mongols would ask them if they had seen Zafar Khan.

Ala-ud-Din defeated the Mongols. Zafar Khan was killed in the battlefield. It was rather good news for Ala-ud-Din, because Zafar Khan was dangerous to Ala-ud-Din’s position.

In 1304, the Mongols attacked again, under the command of Ali Beg and Khwaja Tash. They reached near Amroha, but Gazi Tuglak defeated them.

In 1306, the Mongols crossed the Indus near Multan and proceeded towards the Himalyaas. Gazi Malik, the governor of Punjab defeated them. A large number of the Mongols were killed. About 50,000 Mongols were made prisoners including Kubak, the Mongol leader.

Next year, the Mongols invaded India again. In 1307, they invaded under the command of Iqbal Manda. They crossed the Indus, but Gazi Tuglak defeated them. Many Mongols were made prisoners and killed by elephants. The Mongols were so frightened by this punishment that they never appeared again in India. It was the last invasion by the Mongols.

Conquest of Gujarat

In 1297, Ala-ud-Din sent a huge army under the command of Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to conquer Gujarat. Rai Karan Dev second was the ruler of Gujarat. He fought for sometimes and then ran away. Ala-ud-Din’s army captured the capital Anhilwara. The beautiful queen of Karan Dev second was made prisoner. She was taken away to Delhi. Ala-ud-Din married her.

Ala-ud-Din’s army plundered Gujarat and took away a large amount of booty. But, the greatest prize of all bagged in ‘Hazar Dinari’ slave, Malik Kafur, who became the prime minister of the King later.


Ranthambhor is a very famous fort of Rajputana. Qutb-ud-Din and Iltutmish conquered it, but now it was being ruled by a Rajput king, Hamir Dev.

In 1299, Ala-ud-Din sent an army under Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to capture the fort of Ranthambhor, but the Rajputs defeated them. Even Nusrat Khan was killed in the battlefield.

When Ala-ud-Din heard of this, he personally proceeded against Ranthambhor in 1301. The Rajputs fought bravely. It took a few months to capture Ranthambhor.

Conquest of Chittaurgarh

In 1303, Ala-ud-Din Khilji sent an expedition against Chittaurgarh, the capital of Mewar. The Guhil Rajput, Rana Ratan Singh, was the ruler of Mewar.

Two Rajput warriors Gora and Badal fought very bravely against the Delhi army. When further resistance became impossible, the Rajputs preferred death to disgrace. The Rajputs performed the Jauhar, a horrible rite, where the females set themselves in the funeral pyre. All the males died in the battlefield.

The Chittaurgarh was captured on August 26, 1303.

Conquest of Malwa

Malwa was under rule of Rai Mahlak Dev. In 1305, Ala-ud-Din Khilji sent an army to Malwa under Ain-ul-Mulk Multani. The Rajput King Rai Mahlak Dev opposed the invaders, but he was killed in the battlefield.

This victory helped the Delhi Army to occupy Ujjain, Mandu, Dhar and Chanderi. By the end of 1306 A.D. practically the whole of Northern India came into the hands of Ala-ud-Din.

Conquest of the South

Now, Ala-ud-Din directed his attention towards the conquest of the South. He was the first Muslim king, who tried to invade the South. After the North had been brought under his control, it was natural for Ala-ud-Din to try for the extension of his influence over the South.

Ram Chandra Deva was the king of Devgiri. He gave refuge to Rai Karan Dev second, the fugitive ruler of Gujarat. Rai Karan Dev second made arrangements to marry Deval Devi, his daughter, to a Prince named Shankar. Shankar was the eldest son of Ram Chandra Deva, the King of Devgiri.
At that time, there were four main kingdoms in the South, Devgir, Telangana, Hoysala and Pandya kingdom.

In 1307, Ala-ud-Din sent an expedition against Devgiri under Malik Kafur, a slave. The King Ram Chandra Deva was defeated and was brought to Delhi. Ala-ud-Din treated Ram Chandra Deva with all honours. He even gave him a royal canopy and the style of King of kings. Ram Chandra Deva continued to rule Devgiri As a vassal of Ala-ud-Din Khilji.

The daughter of Kamla Devi, Deval Devi also was sent to Delhi, where she was married to Khizar Khan, son of Ala-ud-Din. Kamla Devi already was a wife of Ala-ud-Din.

In 1310, Ala-ud-Din’s army under Malik Kafur besieged Warangal, the capital of Telangana. Ram Chandra Deva of Devgiri gave all assistance to Malik Kafur. The King of Telangana, Pratap Rudra Deva was sued for peace. He gave Kafur 100 elephants, 7,000 horses and large quantities of jewels and coined money. He also agreed to send tribute to Delhi every year.

Then Malik Kafur was sent to Dwarsamudra, the capital of King Vir Vallabh, the Hoysala ruler. Vir Vallabh was defeated and made prisoner. The rich temples of the city were plundered and Malik Kafur got a lot of gold, silver, jewel and pearls from these temples. Vir Vallabh was brought to Delhi. Later, he could rule over Dwarsamudra only as a vassal of Delhi.

From Dwarsamudra, Malik Kafur marched towards Madura. Madura was the capital of Pandya Kingdom. Vir Pandya, the King of Madura abandoned his capital and ran away with his queens. Malik Kafur plundered the city. The main temple was destroyed and a mosque was built there. He got many elephants, 20,000 horses, 2,750 pounds of gold and lots of jewels. No such treasure had been brought to Delhi ever before.

In 1312, Malik Kafur attacked Devgiri again, because Shankar Deva, the successor of Ram Chandra, withheld the tribute promised by his father and tried to regain his independence. Shankar Deva was killed. His kingdom was captured.

Death of Ala-ud-Din Khilji

The success in the South made Malik Kafur so powerful that Ala-ud-Din became merely a puppet in his hands. Ala-ud-Din sent his wife and two sons, Khizar Khan and Shadi Khan, to jail, because Malik Kafur told him that they were conspiring against him.

In 1316, Ala-ud-Din Khilji died. It is said that Ala-ud-Din was poisoned by Malik Kafur.